Over the years we’ve heard the names like ‘Evil Genius’ and ‘Father of Extreme’ to describe Paul Heyman, but one name that has certainly come to light most recently with his WWE return is ‘Greatest Manager Of All Time’. There’s no denying the return of Paul Heyman to WWE seems to have totally rejuvenated him, and he has proved that he cane easily still be one of the top heels in the wrestling industry. 2012 to 2013 will certainly go down for me as involving some of the most exciting things I have seen on WWE television, and the majority of them involve Paul Heyman.
Heyman made his initial return to our screens to manage a man he originally managed when he came into WWE in 2002, Brock Lesnar. He came in as the annoying ‘legal advisor’ to Brock Lesnar in his feud with Triple H. Given the fact that Lesnar’s contract only had him working a small number of dates this allowed WWE to keep the story fresh and relevant with the audience, while continuing the build up to the inevitable match between Lesnar and Triple H. His character immediately began making remarks about Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, striking a nerve as a character, and showing the fans that Heyman had not forgotten how to play the evil heel. His character has always had a way of getting under your skin as he acts like such a weasel, despite having all the talk.
But this was just the beginning of the resurgence of the Paul Heyman character. His best work to date has come from his involvement with a man who claims he owes his entire WWE run to Heyman, CM Punk. We saw Heyman guide Punk to being WWE Champion for 434 days, the longest run in the modern era of WWE. Whilst we can simply credit all that down to Punk’s hard work and the creative team booking, what really stood out over the run was the work of Heyman on the mic with CM Punk. When you get either man alone on the mic then you know you are going to get something great, but when you put them together on the microphone then you literally get gold. Without a shadow of a doubt CM Punk is great on the mic, but Paul Heyman is something else. The man knows how to talk and work a crowd like no other man I have seen in a long time. Heyman has shown time and time again why he is one of the best talkers in the industry to date, cutting promo’s that many can only dream of.
His work with CM Punk continued into 2013, only this time he wasn’t managing Punk, he was working against him. After costing Punk his chance to win the Money in the Bank briefcase, the two started a feud that will go down as one of the greatest things ever shown on WWE TV. The reason it was so great is simple – The feud was based on reality. You could feel the raw emotion coming from both men whenever they talked about, or to, one another. The passion shown by both men throughout the feud is not something you could just fake easily. I remember watching Heyman beat Punk down with a kendo stick while screaming at him how he loved him, he was like a son to him, he was everything to him, and thinking how powerful and dramatic it was. That moment will easily go down as one of my favourites of all time. It’s a great shame for me that the introduction of Curtis Axel and Ryback to Heyman’s army did not work out so well, but the individual superstars need to take their share of the blame for this, as Heyman lived up to his end of the deal by working to get them over as ‘Paul Heyman guys’/
Sadly Heyman is now off our screens following a GTS by CM Punk on top of the Hell in a Cell. I enjoyed the feud they had, despite the insertion of Curtis Axel and Ryback who struggled to keep the momentum of the feud going whenever they were involved. But we all know it’s only a matter of time before Heyman returns to our screens, most likely any time from the Royal Rumble onwards, in anticipation for the return of Brock Lesnar who I believe will be the man to challenge for the Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania 30. Given Heyman’s last involvement with Undertaker being in the build up to the CM Punk versus Undertaker match at last years Wrestlemania, and Heyman dressing up as Paul Bearer, this could prove to be the moment we see Heyman do some of the best work he has done to date. It is very likely in the build up to Wrestlemania that both Brock Lesnar and Undertaker will be limited in their work, so Heyman will be relied upon again to keep the match and feud relevant. He has a proven track record of doing this with the Triple H and Lesnar feud, I think this is just another challenge he will pass with ease.
Given all that Heyman has done, not only since his return, but in his runs within WWE, it could be argued that he is one of the greatest managers, and performers, the company has ever seen. Again, the manager bit comes down to booking of the wrestlers he has managed, but there is no denying that Heyman the performer is in a league of his own. He has always spoken with a passion in his promos, and has always been one of the guys who can brilliantly blur the lines of fiction and reality. For me, Heyman will go down as one of the greatest performers in WWE history. He is up their psychologically with the likes of Jake Roberts and Raven, two men who cut promo’s that always drew in their audience, although I think Heyman has easily surpassed them. What remains of Heyman’s WWE career after Wrestlemania is a mystery, but I hope that he remains with the company long into the future. WWE will benefits from his genius and his vision, and no doubt Paul will find another couple of Paul Heyman Guys to lead to greatness.